I'm new to keyboards


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.. So please be nice.

I have a few questions regarding just the basics of keyboards (God, I am such a newbie, lol)

Is there any diference between Midi controllers, and Keyboards? If so, what are they?

If you buy a program that is just essentially a MIDI library of sorts, how do you go about making those effects get to your keyboard?

If that last question didn't make any sence.. I'll try to explain my perdicament: I'm looking for a good program to create REALISTIC sounding string tracks.. I have found two (East West Symphonic, and Sonivox Syphonic String Collection) programs that have peeked my intrest, but I am unsure if they have music-making programs included in them (meaning, I do not believe they have a thing like Finale where I can go in and note for note put in what I want played)... If they do not have this option, how do I make it so it applies itself to the program that I use for my keyboard?

On that token, what is a good program I should be using to edit my work? (I use protools to finish out the recording process.. but say I wanted to EQ the things that I put onto my computer. What is a good program for that?)

What is a decent keyboard (or midi controller?) that has great string and woodwind sounds? I do not care for pianos, or organs.. I have a nice baby-grand and a Hammond Organ I found on the side of the road that work just fine for me... I have about 1000$ Tops to spend

This whole computer/keyboard/synth thing COMPLETELY escapes me.. I still use paper, pen, and a piano to write stuff.. :\

It's just a pain to call up my friend's string quartet and set a date about a month in advanced for them to come out for me to record.. I'd ideally like to be able to put a good sound out with just myself.

Keep in mind, this isn't going to be some crazy nationally released CD by any means.. I just want something that _Doesn't sound Fake._

Sorry about the double post.. I think I had a little too much caffiene tonight, and thanks again

-Chris
 
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Ive been doing some research, and I think I found the answer to my first question... A keyboard has sound, whereas a midi controller has NO built-in sound but rather is able to use any of the libraries that you may have for midi things. (that is right I hope?)

So that being said.. Is it better to buy a midi controller for good string sounds, or is it better to buy a keyboard with a good built-in string sound altogether?

Do some keyboards DOUBLE as midi controllers? If so, which ones?

For a midi controller, a guy I know was going to sell me the M-Audio 88ES for 200$$ (new.. he owns a shop and is willing to get me a deal)... So that being said, I'd have only 800 at most to spend on a decent library for a string sound.. anyone know of a good one?

Thanks again for the help!
 
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you can buy a midi controller keyboard but you must have something for that
controller to take sounds from... for example some modules or keyboard racks
(racks are modules with all the sounds from some keyboard but without the actual keys)

So your midi controler won't be any good to you if you don't have something to plug it in.
 
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Hi Chris!

Firstly, I'd be very cautious about buying an M-Audio product, I have been reading up alot about their products, and the reviews for them are very mixed. Some people praise it, and some say it keeps giving trouble, although I must say, I noticed the trend that most people who praise it havn't had it for very long, and those that say they found problems have had it for more than 6 months(some even less). So, it's a bit of a gamble getting that.

If it's just a controller you are looking for, and only to get strings, then you probably won't need weighted keys or 88 of them. For the product you listed, that is what you are mainly paying for. From my research I have only found 3 88-key midi controllers, and to be quite frank, I wouldn't risk buying any of them, despite their low prices.

The main problem is you don't get dedicated strings only keyboards that I know of(I'm still rather new myself to the whole thing), and the majority of models bundle a whole bunch of other features with, mostly mediocre, that you end up paying for directly or indirectly. So I would go with buying a midi-controller and a seperate sound module or software that has very good strings, although I don't know much about the prices of those. If not, beware of models that throw in lots of other features you won't need, since from what I can tell, most keyboards or synths is just a general compromise of different level, trying to do everything to a quality determined by the price.

I would also suggest spending alot of time in your local music dealer stores, trying out every keyboard/synth they have there and listening for if you find a model in your price range with the sounds your are looking for, and don't forget to haggle the price a bit(the list price is only where to start the haggle, I have never paid the list price on anything in a music store). I think Sysryn suggested this elsewhere, but if you do find one, try looking for a 2nd hand one elsewhere, chances are you can save even more money that way.

Some general advice I learned: The big three names in this field of musical instruments is Roland, Korg and Yamaha. Quality wise, you can't really go wrong with any of these, I suggest you browse their sites to look for a suitable controller. Also, take your time, visit brand homepages and study all their models. It takes time to know exactly what you want, since you first have to know what is available(like in my case).

So far, the "Korg K61 61-Key USB MIDI Controller" seems like a good choice, going for around $179.99.

On the other hand, if you buy sound software or a sound module, you might be able to skip buying a keyboard or midi-controller all together, since from what I gather it's only for recording, and you can most probably figure out a way to compose the parts on your pc and play it through the software or sound module using midi or something like that, and just mix it into your recording later. There are many ways to go about doing this. I'm not sure, but I think there should be free alternatives too, although I can't vouch for the sound quality.

Keep in mind, I'm rather new to this, only started researching this topic(controllers/sound modules vs keyboards/synths) 2 days ago, but I hope this helps. I would have gone the controller route myself, but like I said, I can't find any 88-key controllers that seems worth buying, and I'm heart set of getting 88-keys, so instead I'm going for a good 88-key synth.
 
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Thank you for your help (It was probably the most in-depth thing I have gotten out of anyone that I have asked about all of this stuff).

I have a quick question though:

If I get myself a decent keyboard/synth like you were talking about, do most (or some) have the OPTION of being midi controllers as well? If so, I think that may be the route I will take... I remembered I was moving out in a month into a tiny apartment half a country away, and though my mother offered that I take the organ and the piano, there is absolutely no way I'm going to move those things until I have a STEADY living environment.

I will take a look at the Korg K61 61-Key USB MIDI Controller, and also some others, and keep an update on the status I suppose.. I'll just ask for opinions and whatnot! Guitar Center/The Player's Bench, here I come.
 
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Yes, most keyboards and synths double both ways as midi controllers and sound modules. Although, not all, but most models should have this. Just double check for each model. Reading model specs is your friend :p.

But, like I say and will say all the time, before you buy anything, make sure you know everything about it. I downloaded the manual and data sheet for the keyboard I'm currently most keen on buying(Yamaha S90 ES) and plan to read through the thing before I buy it. Another tip I can give is if you are looking at models you could search for the model number in youtube(kindly suggested to me by another member on this board), chances are you will find a few videos that can help give you an idea on what it sounds like and what you can do with it. I did it with the Yamaha S90 ES and all I can say is I'm in love.

Another thing I should point out, is that if you are only interrested in strings, or judging by the way you notate your music (paper and pencil), you probably don't want a synth, which is primarily used to create new sounds, although they usually have a good sound module/library. You don't want to pay for something you won't use much. On the other hand, you might exactly like it because they come with filters and effects which might help you create or modify the strings sound to suit your taste better, but I have never used any of that, so I wouldn't know what is exactly possible. I suggest you play around with the effects and filters on synths in the music stores to see if you can figure it out, if you have the time. I wouldn't buy it in the hope that it might improve the sound. Find out first.

You might try reading up a bit on wikipedia about keyboards/synths in general and checking out the Keyboard information section in the forums if you havn't already. Alot of good information there.

Good luck with your research, any other questions just shout and the noob that I am will try and answer them again, and just keep at it and things will start getting clear. Hey, it worked for me! It can work for you too!
 
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Once again, thanks for the help..

The Youtube Idea is near genius, and I must do that.
However, I have now found that every single person that works at both music stores around me know absolutely _nothing_ about keyboards and synths. I must say it is probably one of the most frustrating things when you walk into a store and talk to someone who is supposed to know stuff about stuff, and he knows about as much as you know (the only diference between you two is that he is trying to sell you something that he doesn't know much about).

But once again, thanks.

It's looking like its going to be something along the lines of just a normal midi controller with maybe just built-in piano..

It's actually pretty nice though, sine I have a macbook.. I'll be able to actually use my midi controller on stage THROUGH my macbook. (portabilit ftw).

Either way, I'm off! Adios
 

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